Suspended High Above

My balance hangs between outstretched arms and pointed toes.
My taught muscles work by rote. I am suspended high above you,
so that I am beautiful,
the graceful command of limbs looks
to you,
like a fluid dance.
There is a forcefield around me.
I do not hear the rush of the crowd,
I do not see

The circus lights shine bright on me,
I see nothing but darkness.
They block your features,
the contours of your body.
I breathe in and out,
timed breaths.
I walk back and forth,
one end of the rope to the other,
the straight line I walk broken
only by a pirouette on the platform,
the half-way mark.
As I spin
you are mesmerized
by the light,
off the sequins of my leotard,
the copper highlights of my hair
pulled into a tight bun.

My rhythm matches the music you hear.

I count the beats,
but you don’t know that,
you can’t see effort,
the balancing

You cheer, you applaud.

I have perfected the art of performance.

The flap door of the circus tent opens,
cold air rushes,
a whisp of hair escapes my bun,
tickles the back of my neck.

One two three four,
I can feel the rush of cold air,
seeping through the nearly invisible rip,
in my leotard’s seam.

Five six seven eight, I can hear someone in the crowd.

What did he say?

“This time they will go in on foot.”

One two three four.

My body shifts slightly to the

“He uses his gun as a pillow,”
five six seven eight,
“wrapped in his thermal underwear.”

One two three four,
I hear a baby laughing.

My head tilts to the
The baby is crying.

Five six seven eight.
The light refracts,
the baby’s face,

His hair is red.
Is he mine?
One two three…

Tamar Krantman Weiss, written in a WW workshop after October 7th